This article will outline the basic process and general best practices for Atlas-hosted Aeon servers to perform or request an update for a major or minor Aeon release, as well as describe the notification channels for each type of release.
Major vs. Minor Releases
The Aeon release schedule for each year generally includes both major and minor updates to the Aeon Server, Client, and other components:
- Major releases are more comprehensive in that they include several new features, are typically released once a year, and require updating several components at once (at minimum, the Aeon Server and Aeon Client). These releases also require updates to the database.
- Minor point releases may be made available after a major Aeon release to provide smaller updates to components of the major version. These most often target bug or security fixes and typically only require updating one component at a time (e.g., a point release may only update the Aeon Server and not the Client).
Major Releases: Best Practices
As major Aeon releases include brand new features as well as comprehensive bug fixes related to all Aeon components, these updates will require both a major Aeon Server and Client update. Each major release of Aeon will typically include the following:
- New major version of the Aeon Server
- New major version of the Aeon Client
- New major version of the default and/or feature-specific web pages
Depending on the content of the major release, other components may be updated and available to download such as new print templates or updated versions of addons. You can find the complete update details for each major release in the Aeon Release Notes.
Notification Channels and Resources
The following resources are available to help keep you informed about Aeon news and updates:
- Aeon Community Forum: Contains announcements for new releases, updates, and webinars, as well as other news or best practices. We recommend clicking the Follow button on the Community page so that you can receive email notifications when new posts are made.
- Aeon Release Schedule: Contains the most up-to-date information on when a new major release may be available, as well as end-of-support dates for older versions of Aeon.
- Aeon Roadmap: Contains information on specific features planned for future releases.
- Uservoice: A platform where you can provide ideas and suggestions for features you'd like added to a future release of Aeon.
Update Procedures for Major Releases
The process to update Aeon to the next major version typically involves the following steps:
- Read the release notes, FAQ, and web page changes articles pertaining to the new major Aeon release. These are typically provided in advance of the release date to assist you with planning.
- Coordinate with local staff at your institution on any version-specific update procedures and make a plan for performing your update.
Request your server update by contacting email@example.com. Atlas staff will work with you to schedule a time for your update and then perform the update for you.Server updates can be scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between the hours of 8:00 AM and 2:00 PM Eastern Time. Please plan for up to three hours of downtime to complete your update.
While your server update is in progress, Atlas staff will send download credentials for the new Aeon Client installer. If preferred, your local staff can download and run the Client installer on staff machines or use the file to perform a silent install while the server update is in progress. You can also wait until after the server update is completed, at which point users will be automatically prompted to update the Client upon their next login.After a major server update, prior versions of the Aeon Client will no longer be compatible with the updated server. To minimize staff downtime, it is highly recommended to coordinate with your local IT staff on the Client update process beforehand as these updates may require administrator privileges to perform. Beginning with Aeon 5.1, the Client can either be installed for a single user of the machine (per-user) or for all users on a machine (per-machine). If the Client has been installed at the per-user level, administrator privileges will not be required for any subsequent major or minor Client updates. Per-machine installations of the Aeon Client will require administrator privileges each time an update is performed. See Updating the Client for more information on these installation options.
- Review the release notes again and ensure that any addons or other configurations/components are updated as noted.
Review the web page changes for the new release and update the default or feature-specific web pages in GitHub as necessary. The web page changes documentation linked in the release notes will guide you on adding the updated code manually to your customized pages, or uncustomized pages may be overwritten with the new files available on the Aeon Downloads page.See Update Procedures for Minor Web Page Releases below for more information on how to update your web pages.
Minor Point Releases: Best Practices
Minor point releases are released throughout the year and typically include bug or security fixes for the current major version. These are generally separated into three categories:
- New minor version of the Aeon Server (which can include updates to sub-components such as the Aeon Web DLL or API)
- New minor version of the Aeon Client
- New minor version of the default or feature-specific web pages
Typically, only one category is released at a time and will not require updating other components. For example, a server point release will often not require a corresponding Aeon Client update and vice versa. However, in some cases, several separate point releases may work together to address an issue and require that several different component updates be performed together. For example, an update to the Aeon web pages may also require an update to the Aeon Server to install a new version of the Web DLL.
Minor Server Point Releases
A server point release will typically update one specific component of the Aeon Server, such as the Web DLL or API, but may contain several component updates bundled into one new server release. The point releases notes for a minor server release will contain complete details on any updated components and other fixes provided in the update.
Update Procedures for Minor Server Releases
In the case that a server point release contains an urgent bug or security fix, you will be notified of this update by email. Atlas staff will generally perform this update automatically for you if no downtime is required, or you will be asked to reply to the email to schedule your update if downtime is necessary.
For optional updates, a notification will be posted in the Aeon Community Forum with a link to the point releases notes when a new server update is available. We recommend clicking the Follow button on the Community page so that you can receive email notifications when new posts are made. You can then request an update following these steps:
- Review the point release notes associated with the minor server update, noting any additional requirements/actions that may need to be performed before or after updating.
- Contact Atlas Support at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an update to your server if desired. Server updates can be scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between the hours of 8:00 AM and 2:00 PM Eastern Time. Please plan for up to three hours of downtime to complete your update.
- Update any other Aeon components, such as the Client or web pages if instructed to do so by the release notes.
Minor Client Point Releases
Client point releases are periodically made available to address major bugs found in the Aeon Client. The Aeon System Manager will check the Aeon Server for new versions of the Client and prompt users automatically to update if a newer version is found. Only Client updates applicable to the current major server version will display. For example, if you're on Aeon Server v5.0.x, only v5.0.x Client updates will display even if there is a later version of the Client publicly available such as v5.1.x.
Update Procedures for Minor Client Releases
The Aeon System Manager will check the Aeon Server 10 seconds after startup and then once every 15 minutes for new versions of the Aeon Client. If a newer version of the Client is available for your current major server version, you will be notified and prompted to update upon login. If already logged in, then this information will display as a message in the status bar.
In the case that an update contains an important bug or security fix, you may also be emailed by Atlas with this notification. A notice will typically be posted in the Aeon Community Forum with a link to the point releases notes when a new Client update is available. If a manual Client update is preferred over using the automatic updater prompts, you can opt to visit the Aeon Downloads page and request credentials to download the newest Client installer.
When a new Client update is available, please follow the steps below to perform your update:
- Review the point release notes associated with the Client update.
- Request a corresponding server update, if this is required.
- Visit the Aeon Downloads page and request credentials to download the new Client installer OR have staff follow the Client update prompts displayed by the automatic updater upon login.
If administrator privileges are required to perform the update on local machines, coordinate with local IT staff to follow the automatic update prompts, or if manually installing the update, to run the new Client installer and/or perform a silent install.For Aeon 5.1 and later, administrator privileges will be required for all Client updates if the Client had been previously installed on a staff machine using the per-machine installation option. Per-user Aeon installations will not require administrator privileges for Client updates. See Updating the Client for more information on these installation options. In addition to these guidelines, please also consider coordinating with your IT staff to ensure that local policies and procedures for performing software updates on your machines are followed.
Minor Web Page Releases
The default and/or feature-specific web pages for each major version of Aeon may be updated periodically to fix bugs and other issues. These files will not be replaced automatically and must be manually updated in order to avoid overwriting any customizations you may have added to your web pages. Documentation is made available for each major and minor web page release that notes the specific code changes that should be applied to each file to implement each change. When a new version of the web pages is released, local staff should work to make these changes manually using GitHub.
Update Procedures for Minor Web Page Releases
A notification will be posted in the Aeon Community Forum with a link to the point releases notes when a new web page update is available. Your web pages should then be updated by following the steps below:
- Read the point release notes for the web page release and request a corresponding server update, if necessary.
Read the associated web page changes documentation for the release and implement the indicated code changes manually as instructed on each file that you have customized. A link to this documentation will be made available in the release notes. It is strongly recommended that you first make changes to the files in your Testweb directory and thoroughly test them before copying those changes to your production pages.Sites hosted in the PCI environment should apply edits to the files in their AtlasSystems forked repository in GitHub.
- If you have first applied the changes to your Testweb files, test them thoroughly and then apply the changes to your files in the production directory once satisfied. Please ensure changes are made to the main branch of your GitHub repository.
- If you are hosted in the PCI environment, complete a pull request once all changes have been made to your web pages to initiate a secure code review. Once the review is complete, Atlas staff will make your new pages live.